OJP Press Release letterhead

Office of Justice Programs
Contact: Joan LaRocca


     WASHINGTON, DC - The U.S. Department of Justice launched, at a national conference for crime victim service providers and allied professionals, a web forum to promote dynamic, in-depth discussions of topics and issues related to the most up-to-date and advanced victim service information and practices. The forum is an on-line message board where more than 6,000 victim service provider organizations will exchange expert information about best practices and recommend innovative service strategies to give victims necessary support and relief. Attendees at the 2004 conference of The National Organization for Victim Assistance (NOVA), ongoing this week in Sacramento, CA received the first public access to the technology. The Department of Justice's Office of Justice Programs' (OJP) Office for Victims of Crime (OVC) created the OVC Help Exchange Lessons and Practices (HELP) for victim service providers, at www.ojp.usdoj.gov/ovc.

     "Developing and supporting the best methods for serving victims is an ongoing commitment of the Department of Justice," said John W.Gillis, Director of the Office for Victims of Crime. "Using this web technology allows us to help find and exchange comprehensive victim services strategies, quickly and easily."

     The forum will encourage discussion on issues related to victim services through a user-friendly format. The web forum organizes individual messages by topic and discussion title. Each discussion begins with a comment or question that elicits feedback from others. Examples of information shared on the site may include a telemedicine program for providing immediate diagnostic support to programs at rural clinics, emerging child advocacy centers and to multidisciplinary teams; a grief assistance program providing crisis intervention for survivors of homicide, suicide, and other traumatic deaths; and an elder-sensitive response protocol and procedures for responding to senior abuse and victimization. In addition the web forum will offer:

  • monthly guest moderators - professionals offering commentary on new research, practices and/or policies;
  • e-mail alerts which advise users about new or upcoming discussion topics.

     OVC was created by the U.S. Department of Justice in 1983 and formally established by Congress in 1988 through an amendment to the Victims of Crime Act (VOCA) of 1984. OVC's mission is to enhance the nation's capacity to assist victims of crime and to provide leadership in changing attitudes, policies, and practices to promote justice and healing for all victims of crime. VOCA also established the Crime Victims Fund -- the primary source of funding for OVC programs -- comprising fines, penalties, and special assessments imposed on convicted federal defendants and gifts, bequests, and donations.

     The Office of Justice Programs provides federal leadership in developing the nation's capacity to prevent and control crime, administer justice, and assist victims. OJP is headed by an Assistant Attorney General and comprises 5 component bureaus and 2 offices: the Bureau of Justice Assistance; the Bureau of Justice Statistics; the National Institute of Justice; the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention; and Office for Victims of Crime, as well as the Office of the Police Corps and Law Enforcement Education and the Community Capacity Development Office, which incorporates the Weed and Seed program and OJP's American Indian and Alaska Native Affairs Desk. More information can be found at www.ojp.usdoj.gov.


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